Today I’m sharing a quick and dirty way to fancy up a regular old store bought box of cake mix. And by old, I mean literally old – as in expired for over one year. Before I get to this easy recipe for taking your box cake from grody to gourmet, here’s the backstory of our Scharffen Berger Cacao Nib Cake with SemiSweet Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
It opens like this: Me in the kitchen thinking I’ll whip up some fancypants-made-from-scratch chocolate cake using my favorite cookbook ever.
Then it goes like this for about thirty minutes: I need cocoa powder?! I need sour cream?! I need condensed milk?! I need cake flour?! My mixer is broken?!
Then I get the call from Hubby that he is coming home in an hour and the kids are screaming about making his surprise chocolate birthday cake.
I find a stale box of cake mix in one of our still unpacked moving boxes in the garage.
There’s no time to get to the store and we need a tasty enough chocolate cake for Hubby, the chocolate snob. Kids are crazy, house is a mess, no dinner made, and still no fancypants-made-from-scratch chocolate cake.
I grab the cake mix from out of the trash can and open it up. Smells fine. And here we go …
- 1 box of cake mix
- 1/4 cup of Scharffen Berger Cacao Nibs + 2 tbsp extra for sprinkling
- 2 round cake pans
- 6 ounces of Scharffen Berger Semisweet Dark Chocolate (62% Cacao)
- 1 brick of cream cheese
- 1-2 pinches coarse ground sea salt
Step 1 - Make your cake per the instructions on the box. As a last step, fold in 1/4 cup Scharffen Berger Cacao Nibs.
Step 2 - While your cake is baking, make the frosting. Melt 6 ounces of Scharffen Berger Semisweet Dark Chocolate (62% Cacao)
in a pot over low heat, stirring frequently.
Step 3 - Add your softened brick of cream cheese to the chocolate and mix until blended well.
Optional (but if you don’t do it, it’s not as tasty!): Stir in a sprinkling of Scharffen Berger Cacao Nibs and a pinch or two of sea salt to taste. Set aside.
Step 4 - Set one of the warm cakes on a cake plate and lightly smear on thin layer of the frosting.
Step 5 - Place the second layer on top of the bottom layer.
Step 6 - Cover the entire cake with all of the remaining frosting while it’s still warm. (The layer will be thin).
Step 7 - Refrigerate until it’s time to enjoy! Garnish with a sprinkling of nibs.
The two different Scharffen Berger Chocolate additions seriously elevated the taste of the box cake and the richness of the cacao flavors actually cut the sweetness of the yellow cake mix. Plus, the unexpected – and simply glorious – crunch of the nibs took the cake beyond the box and into gourmet territory.
Hubby, a serious chocolate connoisseur and dessert snob by any standard, raved! The kids, on the other hand, were not so delighted with the rich, deep flavors. So this is definitely not a hyper-sweet, generic chocolate, kids’ birthday party kind of cake, but something better suited for a true chocolate lover.
(Which I think you all know is definitely NOT me, but I have to cater to two out of the four of us in the family who live and die for the stuff).